Agenda and minutes

Learning Communities Overview & Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 8th May, 2019 1.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Hanbury Road, Pontypool, NP4 6YB

Contact: Geraint Thomas  Senior Business Support Officer - Democratic Services

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome & apologies / Croeso ac ymddiheuriadau

Minutes:

1.1       Apologies were received from Councillors Kelly Preston and Raymond Williams.

2.

Declarations of interest / Datganiadau o fudd

Minutes:

2.1       Due to Special Needs Resource Bases being located at several schools, members of the Committee declared the following personal interests in agenda item 5:

Cllr Caron – Chair of Governors at Llanyrafon Primary School and a governor at Croesyceiliog School.

Cllr Evans – Governor at Cwmbran High School and Woodlands Community Primary School, and has two children in the borough with Additional Learning Needs (ALN).

Cllr Overton – Governor at New Inn Primary School.

Cllr Powell – Governor at Croesyceiliog School and Maendy Primary School, and her child attends Maendy Primary School.

Cllr Seabourne – Governor at Cwmbran High School and Greenmeadow Primary School.

Cllr Thomas – Governor at Nant Celyn Primary School.

Bernard Williams – Governor at Abersychan School.

3.

Minutes 20/3/2019 / Cofnodion 20/3/2019 pdf icon PDF 389 KB

Minutes:

3.1       The minutes of the meeting held on 20 March 2019 were confirmed as an accurate record.

4.

Action sheet / Taflen Gweithredu pdf icon PDF 101 KB

Minutes:

4.1       The Committee noted the action sheet.

5.

ALN Code / Cod ADY pdf icon PDF 273 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

5.1       The COE gave a brief introduction to the report, highlighting the following areas:

  • He outlined the core aspects of the reform, which were listed in paragraph 1.7 of the report.
  • He did not believe that the policy intended to extend the ability to stay in school up to the age of 25.
  • A collegiate approach was required by all stakeholders under the Act and the four priority areas for the South East Wales Consortium (SEWC) were listed in paragraph 2.2 of the report.
  • The mandatory requirements imposed by the ALN Code on local authorities and schools could be seen in paragraph 2.9 of the report, and these would need to be evidenced.
  • It was important not to dismiss any dreams or aspirations of children and young people, and lots of training was available to schools and professionals around how they support children and young people in order to achieve their goals.
  • Meeting the needs of learners with ALN should be part of a whole school approach to school improvement, and close work with the Education Achievement Service (EAS) was key to this.

 

5.2       Councillor Gwyn Jenkins entered the meeting.

 

5.3       Following Members’ questions and comments, the COE, TL and SAM made the following main points:

  • The COE confirmed that officers would check the figures presented on page 78 of the agenda, regarding Special Educational Needs (SEN) numbers per region, and look for an explanation around Caerphilly’s particularly high numbers.
  • The TL explained that the SEWC was the only consortia in Wales that had completed its Readiness Survey. The figures on page 102 of the agenda did not reflect this, but that was merely due to a timing issue around the publishing of the agenda.
  • The TL confirmed that terms and conditions were in place around funding, in order to improve attendance at local and regional cluster meetings, and she agreed to circulate an individual school breakdown of the attendance figures. The COE added that schools needed to attend the cluster meetings to keep up-to-date and the Local Authority (LA) needed to monitor this.
  • The COE suggested that when funding for Post-16 education was transferred from Welsh Government (WG) to local authorities, it would be beneficial for it to be on a regional or all-Wales basis, in order to achieve economies of scale. He explained that the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) could have a role to play in this. He reassured members of the Committee that the LA had raised this issue with WG.
  • The COE suggested that it may be unfair to expect all ALN students to complete Further Education (FE) courses within two years, which is what the funding covered, and therefore this could also have resource implications.
  • The COE did not believe that the ALN Code was cost-neutral, as a lot of resource would be required. He added that it was on the Corporate Risk Register and may even need to be heightened.
  • The COE expected a lot of legal challenges to occur within the first  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Date of next meeting / Dyddiad y cyfarfod nesaf

Minutes:

6.1       The Chair confirmed that the date of the next meeting would be circulated as soon as possible, and thanked the Committee for their input during the municipal year.

 

6.2       The Chair informed the Committee that Lorna Redman and Dr John Sheridan were no longer co-opted members of the Committee, following the expiration of their terms of office. The Committee requested that letters were sent on behalf of the Committee, praising them for their input and dedication.

 

6.3       The meeting ended at 3.45pm.